New York is amongst the most storied cities in all the world. It is a major travel, business, and cultural hub. You will find fine dining beside Joe’s pizza, luxury shopping in Soho next to the crammed knock-off shops of Canal st. New York is a mosaic of cultures that have all come together to give this city a flavor of its own. New York has a few secrets that remain hidden to the world. Here are some of those lesser known facts.
New York Facts
34. Leading by example
New York City was one of the world’s first cities to legalize same sex marriage. New York was the 6th state in the United States to legalize same-sex marriage, and actually recognized same sex marriages before they were technically legal in the state.
33. Ellis Island
From 1889 to 1926, over 16 million immigrants entered through New York harbor into the United States. About 30% of Americans can trace at least one ancestor to Ellis Island.
32. Luck of the Irish
Due to problems with the potato famine and political troubles, by 1855 more native-born Irish lived in New York City, than in the capital of Ireland. New York City is still the home to more people of Irish ancestry than Ireland’s capital city.
Irish hunger memorial
31. Have you seen Bigfoot?
Adirondack Park in New York is over 5 million acres, making it the largest national park in the United States. It is bigger than Yellowstone, Glacier Park, Everglades Park, and Canyon National Parks combined. The Adirondack park is also the alleged home of the elusive Big Foot.
Niagara Falls National Park became one of the first nationally owned parks when New York created the Niagara Reservation in 1880s. The three falls drop 150,000 gallons of water over a 160 ft. wide cliff. The falls attract 10 million tourists each year.
29. Power of nature
The Niagara falls area has 2 hydroelectric plants that are able to produce 2 million kilowatts of energy, which is sufficient to power the state of much of New York and Southern Ontario, Canada.
28. A tale of five cities
Many people mistakenly think of Manhattan as the entirety of NYC. In fact, Manhattan is just one of the five boroughs of NYC. The others are The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
Many famous people call New Yorkers home including Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Denzel Washington, Adam Sandler, Eleanor Roosevelt, , Franklin D. Roosevelt, Tom Cruise, Theodore Roosevelt, Maria Callas,Walt Whitman, The Marx Brothers, and many others.
26. Name your car
In 1903, New York was the first state to stipulate that all automobiles to register and have licensed plates. The plates were not done by the state but were created by the owner and were suppose to have the owner’s initials.
25. Prison Break
In 1970, the most violent prison rebellion to ever happen in the US took place at the Attica State Correctional Facility in NYC. Prisoners were able to take over the prison and hold correctional officers and other prison workers for ransom. When the riot was over, 33 inmates and 10 officers had lost their lives during the violence.
The French Republic (France) Gave the Statue of Liberty to the US in 1885 as gift commemorating the 100 years anniversary of U.S independence, and continuing allegiance between the two states. The statue was transported in over 300 pieces in 214 crates and took 4 months to assemble at its current location on New York’s Bedloe Island.
23. Gone but not forgotten
The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in NYC were undisputedly the worst single foreign assault on US territory. Almost 3000 people lost their lives and over 6000 were wounded in the attack and during rescue efforts in the days following.
The 2012 hurricane took the lives of over 130 people, about 60 of which were New Yorkers. Big parts of NYC lost electricity, 500,000 homes and local businesses were lost, and the total damages were about $50 billion.
If New York City was a country on its own, it would be ranked the 16th largest economy in the world, being a little smaller than the economies of Canada and Spain. New York City’s economy is the second largest in the US.
20. There’s gold in them streets
New York City’s Federal Reserve Bank possesses the biggest gold reserve in the world. The vault is 70 feet beneath street level and contains over $80 billion in gold.
19. We Recycle
NYC landfills have begun to completely fill up with waste and so garbage has to be transported to other nearby states. New York City produces 12 million tons of trash annually. To deal with all this garbage, the city uses enough trucks every day to form a 9-mile-long train. Some of the trash is hauled to other states and in some cases as far away as China or India.
18. Do you even read?
The New York Public Library contains over 40 million books and publications and is one of the most extensive library systems in the US. Only the Library of Congress possesses more volumes.
17. The Yankees of baseball
The New York Yankees have grabbed baseball’s World Series 27 times which is more than any other team.
16. Not just humans…
The Bronx Zoo in NYC is the biggest city zoo in the US with over 600 species and 3000 animals.
15. I’ll take it
Dutch settlers bought Manhattan Island, naming it New Amsterdam, from Natives in the 17th century as reported by a letter written by Peter Schaghen addressed to leaders in the Netherlands. The letter mentions that the island was bought for 60 guilders but there is some crucial information missing such as an official deed to the purchase. It is believed that the island was purchased for USD $24 but when adjusted for inflation the figure was actually closer to USD $950.
40 years later, the English seized the territory of New Amsterdam from the Dutch. The area was named New York after King Charles II’s brother, the Duke of York, in whose name the city was captured.
13. The seat of the empire
NYC was the first capital of the US once the constitution was ratified. George Washington was sworn in as the first constitutional U.S. president on the Old City Hall balcony.
12. The home of freedom
During World War 2, President Franklin D. Roosevelt brought over 1000 refugees to stay in a holocaust refugee shelter named Safe Haven in NYC. The refugees were made up of survivors of concentration camps that possessed skills that would contribute to the refugee shelter. The president also promised that the refugees would return to their countries after the war ends but many of the families stayed in the US permanently.
11. NY Post
The New York Post is one of the oldest newspaper in the United States that is still published today. It was started by Alexander Hamilton in the early 19th century.
10. A hub of innovation
New York State is the origin of many inventions such as commercially available toilet paper and modern chewing gum. NYC alone was the origin of marshmallows, Mustard, baby shoes and Jell-O.
9. Move it!
Except for emergencies, honking your car horn is actually illegal in New York City. And yes, we know, everybody does it anyway.
8. Salut, Hallo, Ciao, Shalom, Ni Hao, hola
More Chinese people live in New York City than any other city outside of Asia. And more Jewish people live there than any other city outside of Israel. A testament to the multiculturalism of the city.
7. Central Perk
New Yorkers drink 7 times more coffee than people in the rest of America.
6. We’re gonna need a bigger city…
Every year New Yorkers are responsible for ten times the number of biting incidents that sharks are globally.
5. Thought the Rockies would be rockier than this
Manhattan comes from a Lenape word meaning “island of many hills”. The seems ironic today as many of the hills have been flattened to improve the land for urban development.
4. A room with a view
NYC is the only city to posses sky scrapers with no windows. The picture below if of the ATT Long Lines building which was built to hold telephone equipment. This style of architecture is called brutalism and is seen today as the architectural dark age.
3. NYC going green
Although NYC is known as a concrete jungle, the city also makes sizeable investments in park space. The most prolific is Central Park, 843 acres of prime real estate in the middle of Manhattan. In 2009, the city opened the High Line, a 1.3 mile stretch of elevated disused train tracks that have been converted to a free garden. In 2018 NYC will open the world’s first underground park.
2. Aliens in NYC
15,152 forms of life have been found in the New York Subway system (these include insects and bacteria).
1. Empire State Building
Contrary to popular belief, a penny dropped from the Empire State Building’s observation deck will not kill someone on the ground if it struck them directly. With a terminal velocity around 60 mph and very little mass, the impact would certainly sting but not it would not deal enough damage to cause serious injury or death.